Below-average rainfall predicted may tighten Durban water restrictions

Forcasts suggest a dry end to 2017. Stock photo.

Recent forecasts by the SA Weather Service show a strong likelihood of below normal rainfall through to November.

The rain is expected to return for the last two months of 2017, but there is not yet enough data available to be sure.

This is according to Shami Harichunder, corporate stakeholder manager for Umgeni Water.

“Forecasts by both the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the SA Weather Service predict that rainfall in the spring and summer months of 2017/18 will be less than the average received. If this occurs, it will be consistent with the trend over the past three years when below-average rainfall was received during this time,” said Harichunder.

Also read: 9 ways to a more drought resistant garden

“El Niño/La Niña data show an inconsistent trend at present and it is inconclusive as to which event is being experienced, therefore it is also still too early to say. El Nino is a weather phenomenon that is characterised by high temperatures and drought or, on the other extreme, unseasonal rainfall. La Nina, on the other hand, has the opposite effect of El Nino.

“The Mgeni system, which supplies uMgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg and about 80% of Durban, has experienced the effects of El Nino, manifested in protracted below-average rainfall and accompanying water shortages.”

Ballito is lucky in that we have no water restrictions placed on us – where Umgeni Water is applying for the 15% water restrictions in areas both to the north and south of the Dolphin Coast to be extended.

Still, it is never a good idea to waste water – so here are a few simple steps you can take in your home to reduce water usage:

  1. Only flush the toilet when necessary – and do not treat it as a dustbin. Remember the old adage: ‘if it’s brown – flush it down, if it’s yellow – let it mellow’ (a little gross I know but one of the best ways to save water).
  2. Take it easy on those long, hot showers. A normal shower head can use up to 16l of water per minute. Try to cut your shower time down to 2 minutes (think of it as a time-trial challenge) and invest in a water saving shower head.
  3. Collect the water you use to shower or bath and in your sink. Use this water to flush the toilet, water the garden or wash your car.
  4. Wait for a full and proper load before you start washing clothes. Washing machines use a lot of water in households where small loads are washed almost everyday.
  5. Use a cup full of water instead of a running tap when brushing your teeth, shaving etc.
  6. Plan ahead and let frozen food defrost without running it under hot water – this is a waste of both water and electricity.
  7. Do not leave leaky taps and pipes to drip. It may not seem like much, but a drop every second for days on end eventually adds up to a lot of wasted water.
  8. Check your toilet for invisible leaks by adding a little food colouring to your tank. If (without flushing), the colour in the bowl begins to change within 30 minutes it means you have a leak that is probably raising your water bill very month.
  9. Decrease the amount of water used with each flush of your toilet with nothing more than a plastic bottle or two and some sand/pebbles. Fill the bottom few centimeters of the bottles with the sand/pebbles to weigh them down, now place the bottles in your toilet’s tank (away from the mechanisms so that it can still flush) and voila – your tank now has two ‘air pockets’ taking up the space of a few extra litres of water that would otherwise have been flushed away.

Dam levels as of August 25:

Midmar: 70, 55%

Hazelmere Dam: 105, 33%

Inanda: 61, 6%

Imvutshane Dam: 100%

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Allan Troskie

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